Tuesday, March 20, Eyewitness News at 6

6:13 PM, Mar 20, 2012   |    comments
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OUR TOP STORY TONIGHT AT SIX....
CONSOLIDATION OF THE MACON AND BIBB COUNTY GOVERNMENTS MOVED A STEP CLOSER TO GETTING ON THE JULY BALLOT TODAY..
THE SENATE APPROVED THE HOUSE VERISON WITH MINOR CHANGES.
SENATOR CECIL STATON OF MACON SAYS.... IT'S HEADING BACK TO THE HOUSE.. SO THE CHAMBER CAN CONSIDER THE TWEAKS MADE BY THE SENTATE.
STATON SAYS THE SENATE MADE MINOR CHANGES.. SUCH AS ELIMINATING THE SENTENCE THAT SAID THE MAYOR COULD APPOINT A POLICE CHIEF.. AND SAYS THE TOP COP WILL BE THE ELECTED SHERIFF.
HE ALSO SAID THE SENATE MADE SOME MINOR CHANGES TO THE ELECTION DISTRICTS IN THE NEW GOVERNMENT.
WE SPOKE WITH STATE REPRESENTATIVE ALLEN PEAKE BY PHONE EARLIER TODAY.
HE SAYS HE BELIEVES THE HOUSE WILL APPROVE THE PACKAGE
Allen Peake, State Representative: I fully expect that we will agree to the Senate verison. They were all changes that we needed to make and tweaks and adjustments that we needed to make to it. so hopefully by the end of this week or the first of next week, we'll have that thing done I believe.
PEAKE SAYS ONCE THE BILL IS APPROVED.. IT'LL GO TO GOVERNOR NATHAN DEAL FOR HIS SIGNATURE.. AND BE READY FOR A VOTE ON THE JULY 31ST PRIMARY ELECTION DAY.
HE ALSO SAYS IT WOULD GIVE LOCAL SUPPORTERS THE OPPORTUNITY TO TELL VOTERS WHY THEY FEEL THE TWO GOVERNMENTS SHOULD BE CONSOLIDATED.
AND IN DOWNTOWN FORSYTH...PEOPLE ARE PICKING UP THE PIECES AFTER A SPECTACULAR MONDAY NIGHT FIRE.
AS THE GRITS CAFE BURNED DOWN.... KIM HOLDENFIELD WAS THERE TO SNAP PICTURES.
HERE YOU CAN SEE FIRE FIGHTERS BATTLING THE FLAMES... THAT LEFT THE DOWTOWN FORSTYH RESTAURANT... COMPLETELY DESTROYED.
THE FIRE SPARKED AROUND 6 P.M.... AND FIREFIGHTERS HAD THE BLAZE KNOCKED DOWN AROUND 8.
JUDY LE STOPPED BY THIS MORNING TO CHECKOUT THE AFTERMATH.
THE SMELL OF SMOKE LINGERS IN THE AIR. GRITS CAFE STANDS COVERED IN SOOT,...ASH...AND DEBRIS,
THE ROSE THEATER...RIGHT NEXT DOOR...SHARED A WALL WITH THE RESTAURANT. THE THEATER SUFFERS FROM SMOKE AND WATER DAMAGE.
THEATER VOLUNTEER....RHETT MCMURRAY...SAYS THOSE ARE MINOR COMPARED TO WHAT WAYNE AND TERRI WETENDORFS...OWNERS OF THE GRITS CAFE....MUST ENDURE.
(mcmurray 153 wayne and teri have been major contributors to this community. they have helped us tremendously with various fundraisers. we feel like family. they are intimately connected to the rose theater.210)
(standup I talked to teri wetendorf this morning. she was visibly shaken and close to tears. her and her husband stopped by the restaurant to sift through thte remains to try to find anything salavgeable...like forks and spoons. she's unsure about the next step by she says she's trying to take care of her 30-40 employees. and she does plan on rebuilding grits cafe.)
ANGIE ELLIS...OWNER OF A NEARBY BUSINESS...FLOWERS BY HELEN...SAYS NOTHING IN HER STORE CAN BE SAVED.
SHE MARKED DOWN HER FLORAL ARRANGMENTS...IN AN EVERYTHING-MUST-GO-SALE.
(ellis 237 it could've been a lot worse. we're still standing. and i thank god, we're here and nobody was hurt 249)
SHE SAYS THE WETENDORFS...AND THEIR RESTAURANT...HAVE BEEN GOOD NEIGBORS.
(ellis 124 "It brought me a lot of business. He was very well known aND people loved him and they are great people. I'm going to miss them 133)
(veal 236 i just emailed some friends in albany who had been here recently to eat. and they were just very upset. we just pray that the wentefords will rebuild 246))
ALTHOUGH GRITS CAFE BURNED DOWN...PEOPLE SAY IT LEFT AN IMPRESSION IN THEIR MEMORIES...AND THEIR TASTEBUDS.
JUDY LE, 13 WMAZ, EYEWITNESS NEWS.
DAVID BROWN... THE FIRE INVESTIGATOR FOR THE FORSYTH POLICE DEPARTMENT.... SAYS THEY HAVE A THEORY ON THE CAUSE....BUT ARE GETTING A SECOND OPINION...AND EXPECT TO RELEASE THEIR FINDINGS TOMORROW.
HE SAYS THERE'S NO EVIDENCE THE FIRE WAS SUSPICIOUS.

THE SUSPECT IN A JONES COUNTY HOMICIDE IS IN A COMA TONIGHT...AFTER AN APPARENT OVERDOSE.
SHE WAS CONVICTED IN ONE KILLING....CHARGED WITH A SECOND....AND NOW THE JONES COUNTY SHERIFF SAYS THEY MAY TAKE A NEW LOOK AT A THIRD DEATH.
YESTERDAY WE TOLD YOU THAT PAMELA MOSS IS ACCUSED OF KILLING HENRY COUNTY BUSINESSMAN DOUG COKER.
BRITTINY BARBER HAS BEEN FOLLOWING THE CASE AS IT DEVELOPS... BRITTINY... WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED?
TODAY....JONES COUNTY SHERIFF BUTCH REECE TOLD US THAT MOSS TURNED UP OVERNIGHT IN WAYNE COUNTY... WHEN SHE WAS HOSPITALIZED DUE TO WHAT HE CALLS AN INTENTIONAL OVERDOSE.
HE SAID IT HAPPENED AT MOSS'S SISTER'S HOUSE.
MEANWHILE.... WE ARE LEARNING MORE ABOUT THE CASE THAT SENT MOSS TO PRISON 15 YEARS AGO.... FOR KILLING HER OWN MOTHER.
A SOURCE INVOLVED IN THE CASE TOLD US THAT BARBARA SHERMAN FRYE DIED IN 1996 AND WAS BURIED IN RIVERSIDE CEMETERY.
BUT INVESTIGATORS EXHUMED HER BODY... AFTER GETTING TIPS THAT SHE WAS MURDERED.
THE SOURCE TOLD US... PROSECUTORS SUSPECTED THAT PAMELA MOSS STRUCK HER MOTHER IN THE HEAD WITH A HAMMER... AND LATER POISONED HER.
HER DEFENSE ATTORNEY FIFTEEN YEARS AGO... MACON ATTORNEY FRANK HOGUE...TOLD US TODAY... THAT PROSECUTORS MADE HER AN OFFER SHE COULDN'T REFUSE... A PLEA BARGAIN REDUCING THE MURDER CHARGE TO INVOLUNTARY MANSLAUGHTER.
SHE GOT A 10 YEAR SENTENCE... AND WAS FREED FROM PRISON IN 2005.
REECE TODAY SAID COKER... WHOSE BODY THEY BELIEVE WAS FOUND SUNDAY NIGHT... MAY ALSO HAVE HAD HEAD INJURIES.
AND HE SAYS INVESTIGATORS COULD TAKE ANOTHER LOOK AT A THIRD DEATH..
MOSS'S HUSBAND DIED JUST FIVE MONTHS AGO.
SHERIFF BUTCH REECE SAYS URBAN MOSS... APPARENTLY SUFFERED A HEART ATTACK... AND FELL IN THE SHOWER LAST YEAR.
HE SAYS THAT WHILE THE DEATH DID NOT SEEM SUSPICOUS AT THE TIME.... INVESTIGATORS MAY REVIEW THE CASE.... IN LIGHT OF THE NEW CHARGES AGAINST PAMELA MOSS.
MEANWHILE... FRIENDS.... FAMILY AND COLLEAGUES OF DOUG COKER MOURN A MAN THEY SAY MADE A DIFFERENCE IN HIS HOMETOWN.

THE DOORS REMAINED OPEN AT THE HENRY COUNTY BUSINESSES OWNED BY DOUG COKER... THE MAN APPARENTLY FOUND DEAD IN JONES COUNTY.
Welch: "He has three businesses in the county and he was deeply involved in the chamber of commerce."
FAMILY SPOKESMAN BUDDY WELCH SAYS WHEN COKER WENT MISSING LAST TUESDAY.... HIS DEEP ROOTS IN THE COMMUNITY HELPED RALLY PEOPLE TO SEARCH FOR HIM... AND EVEN LAUNCH A FACEBOOK1:30 CAMPAIGN.
Welch: "It started out with a small group and then it was literally hundreds of people that were out looking for him you know by Thursday."
A PING FROM HIS PHONE ON A MONROE COUNTY CELL TOWER.... SHOWED THEM WHERE TO LOOK... SAYS WELCH
Welch: "They organized themselves. They didvided up parts of Monroe county, part of Bibb county to search the roads for his vehicle and of course him and his telephone."
WELCH CALLS COKER MORE THAN A BUSINESSMAN... THE FATHER AND GRANDFATHER DEDICATED HIS LIFE TO HIS FAMILY...
Welch: "They're devistated as tyou can imagine. To lose a father to lose a husband is a terrible loss and to lose a person that was as kind and deCent and family oriented as Doug was is even worse."
WELCH SAYS COKER'S WIFE SPOKE TO HIM BEFORE HE LEFT FOR MACON LAST TUESDAY... AND THAT'S THE LAST CONTACT THE FAMLY HAD WITH THE 67 YEAR OLD.
BRITTINY BARBER 13WMAZ EYEWITNESS NEWS>>
WELCH WOULD NOT DISCUSS THE INVESTIGATION INTO COKER'S DEATH.... OR HIS FRIEND'S BUSINESS DEALINGS WITH PAMELA MOSS.
ALTHOUGH JONES COUNTY OFFICIALS BELIEVE THE BODY FOUND SUNDAY NIGHT IS COKER...THEY HAVE NOT OFFICALLY VERIFIED THAT.
TODAY THE PINKEST PARTY ON EARTH ENTERS IT'S FIFTH DAY...
THE SUN IS SHINING AND CHIEF METEOROLOGIST BEN JONES IS OUT ONCE AGAIN AT CENTRAL CITY PARK.... GETTING READY FOR A GOOD TIME TONIGHT AT THE CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL.
BEN...
THANKS BEN.. WE'LL TALK WITH YOU AGAIN IN JUST A FEW MINUTES.

MANY CHILDREN ASK THEIR PARENTS FOR A PUPPY... BUT NOT MANY NEED A DOG TO TAKE CARE OF THEM.
NINE-YEAR-OLD RILEY EDGE FROM COCHRAN DOES... AND TODAY SHE LEARNED SHE'LL SOON BE TAKING A CANINE ASSISTANT HOME.
LORRA LYNCH JONES TELLS YOU HOW THAT COULD HELP IMPROVE HER LIFE.
RILEY EDGE CALLS HERSELF TYPICAL...
nats-
HER PARENTS SAY SHE'S ANYTHING BUT.
Michael Edge: (2:20) "She nine. She's a sweet girl. She's very smart and she has epilepsy."
Sasha Edge: (1:50) "She's headstrong and determined. She's my hero."
SIEZURES OFTEN ATTACK RILEY..
Sasha Edge: (2:50) "She falls to the ground. She's jerk, She's draws her hands up. She kicks. Sometimes she can't breath."
THAT'S WHY THE EDGE'S WANT A DOG..
nats-
ONE WITH TALENTS LIKE GOLDEN DOODLE... SUNDANCE.
THESE DOGS... TRAINED AS CANINE ASSSITANTS... A NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION IN ALPHARETTA ... CAN ALERT CARE GIVERS WHEN SEIZURES START... AND MAY EVEN SENSE THEM COMING.
Sasha Edge: (4:05) "If it allows her just a little bit of freedom, where she can go to her room, read a book without us calling her name every minute of the day. It's worth it."
THE FAMILY CAME TO THE ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE COMMISSARY... WHERE MILKBONE AND THE DECA GROCERY STORE ANNOUNCED THEY WILL SPONSOR A CANINE ASSISTANT FOR RILEY. TRAINING COSTS 20-THOUSAND DOLLARS.
Riley Edge: (9:10) "I was hopping up and down. I was screaming. I was so excited."
RILEY WILL HAVE TO GO THROUGH TWO WEEKS OF TRAINING... BEFORE TAKING THE DOG HOME.
Michale Edge: (22:40) "It just gives her more freedom, so we don't have to watch over her like we do."
Riley Edge: (10:40) "They wont' have to check up on me, like when I go outside, my brother won't have to go outside with me, unless he wants to."
A CANINE COMPANION WILL BE THERE... KEEPING A CONSTANT WATCH ON HER EVERY MOVE.
nats-
STD
SASHA EDGE SAYS THEY WAITED FOR MORE THAN TWO YEARS... BEFORE LEARNING RILEY WILL GET A DOG.
CANINE ASSISTANCE HAS MATCHED MORE THAN ONE-THOUSAND DOGS WITH OWNERS SUFFERING FROM DISABILITIES... SINCE 1991.
THEY CAME HERE FROM INDIA....CANADA....SPAIN AND OTHER NATIONS...BUT TODAY....40 IMMIGRANTS CAN CALL THEMSELVES....AMERICAN CITIZENS.
THEY WERE SWORN IN DURING A CEREMONY AT THE UNITED STATES COURTHOUSE IN MACON....
AUSTIN LEWIS TALKED TO THEM ABOUT WHAT IT MEANS TO BECOME AN AMERICAN.
TO BECOME A NATURALIZED U-S CITIZEN, YOU MUST BE OLDER THAN 18 ...HAVE LIVED IN THE U-S LEGALLY FOR AT LEAST FIVE YEARS...AND GO THROUGH AN INTERVIEW PROCESS.

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